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`Salsa Priest’ is back —this time at Pojoaque parish

May 23, 2019

The salsa priest is back.

The Rev. Franklin D. Pretto-Ferro, a musician affectionately known as Santa Fe’s “salsa priest,” is coming out of retirement to replace Monsignor Jerome Martinez y Alire at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe del Valle de Pojoaque.

Martinez y Alire, who has Parkinson’s disease, is retiring after almost 44 years in the priesthood. His retirement will be celebrated at the church in Pojoaque with a Mass of Thanksgiving on Pentecost Sunday on June 9.

“He will be replaced by Father Pretto, who is currently serving as archdiocese chaplain for retired priests,” Celine Baca Radigan, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, said Thursday. “That’s going to be effective on June 9.”

Neither Pretto nor Martinez y Alire immediately returned a message seeking comment.

Pretto, who is in his 70s, retired in 2016 as the longest-serving priest at a single Catholic parish in Santa Fe after spending nearly 34 years at San Isidro Catholic Church on the city’s south side. He became known as the city’s salsa priest when his band — Pretto y Parranda — performed at various across Northern New Mexico.

At a celebration of his first 25 years as a priest in 1997, Martinez y Alire, then pastor of Santa María de la Paz Catholic Community, called Pretto “the human face of Christ” and “probably one of the best preachers, if not the best preacher in the city of Santa Fe.”

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

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